Wait, Is My Vagina Weird?


I remember sitting on the toilet in my college boyfriend’s bathroom, which he shared with five roommates. I noticed a nude magazine on the floor at my feet while doing my business and got curious, so I opened it up and found a page covered in women spread eagle.

It wasn’t the first time I had seen another woman’s naked body, but it was definitely the first time I’d seen a variety of vaginas this close-up. After a few pages, it became very clear to me that my vagina didn’t really look like any of the ones in the magazines. And then I wondered: “Shit, do I have a weird vagina? And how the hell will I know if I do?!”

Well, fast forward almost 20 years, and I’m still asking myself this same question. Because for some reason, vaginas are a weird, taboo, undiscussed thing, at least in my world. They change over time and may encounter a few bumps along the road of childbearing and aging that would be much easier to navigate with more information and understanding.

So I decided to ask some friends. In my information quest I stumbled on a chart that included 20 sketches of different vaginas, all of which varied in size, shape, and flap length. It was the perfect tool for gathering intel on where I fall on the vulva continuum. Well, after surveying 20 women it seemed they all had a number 10. A perfectly cute, tight little hotdog-bun-looking vulva with absolutely no sign of extra flappage or innards of any kind. And I call bullshit.

You know what I think? I think my girlies’ vaginas are all over the map, but they’re too embarrassed or nervous to say it. And I think they have likely had questions about their own vaginas over the years and been too embarrassed to ask, and they’re definitely not going to admit that they have a little extra beef or that one side is a little longer than the other because I don’t think they know if that’s normal or not. I think they picked the picture that looked the most conventional and simple, and then ran to Google to see if theirs is weird. I don’t know that for sure, but I have my suspicions.

I finally went to the gynecologist with a list of questions. I sat up with my feet still in the stirrups pulling and pointing and asking about all the flaps and folds that I was unsure about. And turns out, my vagina is just fine. In fact, she said that, aesthetically, it fell right in the center of her daily bell curve of viewed vaginas. Who knew!

As a mom of two daughters, I want different for them. I want them to not share my anxiety about their bodies. I want them to feel empowered and confident to ask any and all questions, and to have open discussions with close friends when they have concerns without worrying about shame or embarrassment.

I vow to teach them about vaginas — and learn right alongside them. I will tell them that like people, vaginas come in all different shapes and sizes and that they can undergo a lot of aesthetic changes with childbirth and other life experiences. And I will allow them space to ask questions freely and openly without making it some secretly whispered-about topic. So by the time they get to college and find that nude magazine on a bathroom floor they will think, ‘well, that vagina doesn’t look like mine but both are normal and great.”

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.





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